NEB WGYM: Huskers Host Nittany Lions in Season Opener

Posted By: Sports

sports@klkntv.com

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
vs. No. 18 Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Sunday, Jan. 15, 1 p.m. – Lincoln, Neb. (Bob Devaney Sports Center)

Tumble N Rumble (No. 5 Nebraska Wrestling vs. No. 13 Michigan)

Live Scores: Huskers.com
TV/Internet Stream (Wrestling Coverage): BTN/BTN2Go.com

Huskers Host Nittany Lions in Season Opener
The preseason No. 12 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team begins its 2017 season this Sunday, welcoming 18th-ranked Penn State to the Bob Devaney Sports Center at 1 p.m. The meet is a part of the annual Tumble N Rumble, as the fifth-ranked Nebraska wrestling team will take on No. 13 Michigan, with both events going on side-by-side at the Devaney Center.

The Cornhuskers were picked 12th in the NACGC/W Preseason Coaches’ Poll and second in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ poll. Senior Jennie Laeng and sophomore Sienna Crouse were named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list.

Nebraska returns 10 letterwinners from last season’s team, which finished eighth overall at the NCAA Championships. Five newcomers join the Huskers this season, including junior transfer Abbie Epperson and four talented freshmen.

Seniors Laeng and Ashley Lambert will look to lead the Huskers back to the NCAA Championships. Laeng was a second-team All-Big Ten selection a season ago, while Lambert earned second-team All-America honors on floor exercise in 2015.

Penn State enters the meet with a 3-0 record on the season after finishing first in a quad meet with BYU, Temple and Bowling Green last Saturday with a score of 194.625. PSU was picked to finish tied for fifth in the Big Ten by the conference’s coaches, and junior Briannah Tsang and senior Kiera Brown were named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch List. The Nittany Lions are coached by Jeff Thompson, who is in his seventh season at Penn State.

Sunday’s matchup will be the 44th all-time meeting between the two teams with Nebraska holding a 34-9 advantage. The Huskers won both meetings against Penn State a season ago, defeating the Nittany Lions by a score of 196.150-194.575 in University Park, before defeating PSU at the Big Ten Championships, 196.900-196.150.

The Huskers will begin the meet on vault, before rotating to uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Though there is no TV or Internet stream for gymnastics action, the wrestling dual will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network as well as streamed live on BTN2Go.com. Live scores for the gymnastics meet will be provided at Huskers.com.

Scouting Penn State
No. 18 Penn State comes into the meet with a record of 3-0 after defeating BYU, Temple and Bowling Green with a score of 194.625 in a home quadrangular meet last Saturday. Junior all-arounder Briannah Tsang won the all-around title with a score of 39.350 and picked up titles on vault (9.85), balance beam (9.825) and floor exercise (9.85). Tsang was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 9. Sophomore Sabrina Garcia won the bars title with a score of 9.95. Penn State ranked No. 23 in the Road to Nationals Preseason Coaches’ Poll, and the Big Ten coaches predicted that the Nittany Lions would tie for fifth in the conference this season. Tsang and senior all-arounder Kiera Brown and were both named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch List. Penn State returns 13 letterwinners from last season and welcomes three freshmen to the team in 2017. Brown picked up regular season All-America honors on the uneven bars last season, while Tsang was an NCAA Championships qualifier on floor exercise. Penn State is coached by Jeff Thompson, who is in his seventh season at the helm of the program.

Last Year Against the Nittany Lions
Nebraska took down Penn State by a score of 196.150-194.575 on Jan. 16, 2016 at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. Three Huskers picked up individual titles, highlighted by senior Hollie Blanske sharing the all-around crown with a score of 39.300. Blanske also won floor exercise with a score of 9.875. Jennie Laeng posted a 9.875 to secure the bars title, while Grace Williams picked up the beam title with a 9.925. Megan Schweihofer led the way for Nebraska on vault, finishing second overall with a 9.80. NU also defeated Penn State 196.900-196.150 at the 2016 Big Ten Championships, held March 19 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.

Series History
The Huskers lead the all-time series with Penn State 34-9, including winning both meetings last season and all 10 meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2012. NU has won the last 11 meetings with the Nittany Lions, going back to the 2009 season.

Season-Opening Success
Nebraska owns a stellar 73-22-1 (.760) record in season-opening meets, including a 30-12 mark under Head Coach Dan Kendig. The Huskers have faced Penn State in a season opener once, defeating the Nittany Lions 195.200-194.575 at the Super Six Challenge in Fayetteville, Ark., on Jan. 5, 2007. NU has been victorious in each of its last three season-opening meets, defeating a total of four teams in the process. The Huskers defeated Arizona State and Bowling Green with a score of 194.050 at a triangular meet in Tempe, Ariz., in last season’s opener.

Nebraska Opens Season Ranked No. 12
NU opens the season at No. 12 in the Road to Nationals Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the seventh-consecutive season the Huskers are ranked among the nation’s top 12 teams in the preseason poll. Nebraska received 1,765 points in the poll, second-highest in the Big Ten behind Michigan (7th – 1,972 points). Because Nebraska did not have a meet in the opening week of the season, the Huskers were not ranked in the Jan. 9 rankings, which are based on team scoring averages.

Huskers Picked Second in Big Ten
Coaches around the conference have picked Nebraska second in the Big Ten for the fourth consecutive year in the annual Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Since joining the conference before the 2012 season, Nebraska has been selected first or second in every preseason poll. Defending Big Ten champion Michigan was ranked first in the poll, while defending Big Ten regular-season champion Minnesota took third. Illinois placed fourth, while Iowa and Penn State tied for fifth.

Strong Schedule in 2017
NU will face 11 teams ranked in the Road to Nationals preseason poll in 2017, including a trio of top-10 teams in top-ranked Oklahoma, No. 7 Michigan and 10th-ranked California. Seven more 2017 opponents were also receiving votes in the preseason poll. Nebraska will face a total of eight Big Ten teams that were ranked in the preseason poll, including five teams ranked among the top-25. Two other Big Ten teams received votes in the poll. According to the site NCAAGymNews.com, Nebraska has the 18th-most difficult schedule in the nation and second-most difficult in the Big Ten.

Laeng, Crouse Named Gymnasts to Watch
Nebraska senior Jennie Laeng and sophomore Sienna Crouse were named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list. Laeng, one of two seniors on this year’s squad, was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last season, and the Big Ten uneven bars co-champion in 2015. Crouse saw action as a three-event specialist in 2016, scoring at least a 9.80 on vault, bars and floor.

Up Next
Nebraska will face its first road test of the season next Saturday in a quad meet at Rutgers. NU will compete against the Scarlet Knights, Brown and West Chester, with the meet scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (CT) in New Brunswick, N.J..

Link to Live Scores: http://www.huskers.com//liveStats/liveStats.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=100&DB_OEM_ID=100

Link to 2017 Media Guide: http://www.huskers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=100&ATCLID=211373394